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Sunday, April 09, 2006

V is for Viva la Piratería

Just writing about V for Vendetta is painful. This is simply one of those movies I wish I could erase from my memory.

This movie was so bad, so infantile, so pathetically obvious I can find no adjectives adequate enough to describe it.

It’s not even bad in a good way.

What irritates me most is once again I fell for what goes for criticism in Spain. I’ve been fooled so may times by totally clueless Spanish critics, and yet once again I shelled out 14 euros for a total waste of celluloid that could only appeal to the most moronic and feeble-minded movie goer.

I’ll try to keep this short, because it’s not even worth the energy it takes my fingers to type this out …

So we walked into the packed multiplex and sat in our assigned seats. The lights dimmed half-way and, before anything else, we were subjected to a ridiculous anti-pirating propaganda clip with hip music, Parkinson’s style camera work and aggressive editing.

Little did we know, but this was to be the highlight of our movie going experience.

There was more drama and suspense in this minute-long tirade against the evils of movie pirating than in the following two hours of V for Vendetta.

Should I mention the little tart who made comments out loud throughout the whole movie? Sitting right next to us? Oh. Oh dios mio! Oh que susto!

Sometimes I feel like I have a real attitude problem. Especially when I’m in the middle of a packed theater of people like this little tart. I know, this isn’t even the point. I’m supposed to write about the movie! But just to add one other telling detail about her: she even got up several times during the movie to take cell phone calls. What the hell is the point of going to movie if you’re going to get up in the middle of it to yap on your cell phone?

I knew I wanted to leave the movie after the first 3 uninspired minutes, but the fact that I had paid 14 euros for two tickets made me feel like I should stay.

So I did stay, and it only got worse.

V turned out to be this repellent “hero” – I use the term very loosely and ironically – with a Prince Valiant hair cut, wearing a theatrical mask. Not only did he come off as overbearing and foolish, he just looked silly, and he actually made me root for the bad guys. I just wanted this payaso to shut up.

Should I mention it’s supposed to take place in 2020 and the sophisticated police force is using the same exact DELL computer screens I use at work? I know this because of the glaringly obvious and incessant product placement. I mean, seriously, what mental midget did the set design for this atrocity?

Ah yes, I digress! It’s so hard not to!!!!

V is a “mysterious” figure who appropriates the spirit of Guy Fawkes, who in 1605 attempted to blow up the British parliament. It’s 2020, Britain is ruled by very bad pedophilic and homophobic religious conservatives and V is the victim of one of their top secret operations to scare the masses into supporting a radical right wing government.

V must blow things up.

I would never call myself right wing, or left wing, or wear a little pin that affiliates me with any kind of mass movement, but this movie’s lame projection of today’s current events into a hypothetical and extremely cheesy looking future actually made me hate this V figure and his infantile diatribes against the establishment. The amazing thing is – no, the really scary thing is - that critics, at least in Spain, seem to think this is daring cinema. Daring, risqué cinema that’s not afraid to take on big issues. Give me a break. “War is bad”, “Homophobia is bad” are truisms … empty slogans that any numbskull in a multiplex can latch on to. The bad guys might as well have been promoting the spread of genital herpes. There are no intelligent questions posed in this movie. The little tart yapping on her cell phone - gasping at V’s “shocking” surprise appearances when the audience least expects it - could understand these concepts. What she couldn’t understand was the utter stupidity of this screen adaptation, the astonishingly uninspired camera work, and the ridiculous set design (V lives in a cave, he is cultured and mysterious, cooks and wears an apron ... he's sensitive, listens to cool jazz, has a Jan van Eyck portrait in plain sight and piles of fusty second hand books so we can understand this. Oh he’s so clever, this V!).

So did I mention the highlight of this piece of garbage was the anti-pirating propaganda movie at the beginning? This movie is only worth watching pirated, but to tell you the truth, it would be a waste of disc space.

Nevertheless, if you decide to aquire a pirated copy, make sure you have copious amounts of psychedelic drugs because you’re going to need them if you want to find anything profound in this movie.

What irks me most is the swindlers released the movie at the beginning of the month, just a week after I got paid, when I have extra cash. Then they had their lackeys write good reviews of it, and bamboozled me into going to see it.

Never again.

§

I did some research on the writer for the original graphic novel, Alan Moore, and found this interview. He was so disgusted with the screenplay (by Wachowski brothers of Matrix fame) that he took his name off the credits and is not accepting any royalties. He’s lucid enough to know the hyperbolic crap they were turning his graphic novel into wasn’t anywhere near his original vision:

Now, in the film, you've got a sinister group of right-wing figures — not fascists, but you know that they're bad guys — and what they have done is manufactured a bio-terror weapon in secret, so that they can fake a massive terrorist incident to get everybody on their side, so that they can pursue their right-wing agenda. It's a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values [standing up] against a state run by neo-conservatives — which is not what "V for Vendetta" was about. It was about fascism, it was about anarchy, it was about [England]. The intent of the film is nothing like the intent of the book as I wrote it. And if the Wachowski brothers had felt moved to protest the way things were going in America, then wouldn't it have been more direct to do what I'd done and set a risky political narrative sometime in the near future that was obviously talking about the things going on today?

That’s what I’m talking about. Get some balls. Alan Moore gets my respect. His writing is probably too elusive for the mass of multiplex zombies.